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Speaker issues notice to 3 pro-Dhinakaran AIADMK MLAs; DMK

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Press Trust of India Chennai
Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal Tuesday issued notices to three AIADMK MLAs siding with rival leader and AMMK founder TTV Dhinakaran, days after the ruling party petitioned him for action against them for alleged anti-party activities.
Official sources said the Speaker issued notices to A Prabhu (Kallakurichi), VT Kalaiselvan (Vriddhachalam)and E Rathinasabapathy (Aranthangi) based on the petition filed by Chief Government whip S Rajendran seeking "due legal action" against them.
The three MLAs have been given a week's time to respond.
DMK, which has been opposing any action on the AIADMK petition, dubbed Dhanapal's move as "murder of democracy," and submitted a resolution seeking his removal from the post.
The resolution by Leader of the Opposition in the assembly and DMK chief M K Stalin was handed over to the Assembly Secretary, party leader R S Bharathi told reporters here.
The DMK and MDMK have opposed any possible disqualification of the three MLAs claiming that the AIADMK move was "only to protect" the Palaniswami government as it will 'lose' majority after the outcome of bypolls to 22 assembly seats.
Bypolls were held to 18 seats on April 18 and four more segments will go for byelections on May 19.
Stalin has last week threatened to move a no-confidence motion against the Speaker if he heeded the ruling party's plea.
The official sources Tuesday did not elaborate on the contents of the notice to the MLAs, but hinted explanation had been sought from the three in the backdrop of them publicly hobnobbing with Dhinakaran, who has floated the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam after he was sidelined by the AIADMK.
However, the three MLAs have been maintaining for long they were in AIADMK only.
Rajendran had on April 26 approached Dhanapal for "due legal action" against the three MLAs for alleged anti-party activities in the backdrop of them siding with Dhinakaran, general secretary of AMMK.
The move has sparked speculation about another round of disqualification of the ruling party legislators after Dhanapal had stripped 18 pro-Dhinakaran AIADMK MLAs of their assembly membership in September 2017 under the anti-defection law.
The 18 were disqualified for revolting against Chief Minister K Palaniswami in August 2017 after he merged the faction led by him with the group headed by then rebel leader O Panneerselvam, now the state deputy chief minister.
Rajendran has said he has attached "photo proof" of the "anti-party" activities of the MLAs. These include "holding positions" and records of events they had participated, apparently related to AMMK.
In his resolution proposing the Speaker's removal, Stalin said Dhanapal's decision (issuing notice) tantamounted to "altering the majority," position in the assembly especially when the bypoll results are to be announced on May 23.
It has been submitted as per Article 179 (c) of the Constitution and Tamil Nadu Assembly Rule 68 both of which govern the procedure for removal of Speaker.
Since the House is not in session now, the resolution would have to wait till it convenes.
In the 234-member state assembly with 22 vacancies, the AIADMK has a strength of 113, excluding the speaker. The simple majority mark in the full House is 117.
The principal opposition DMK along with its allies, including Congress, has 97 MLAs.
Incidentally, two MLAs of AIADMK's alliance parties, designated as its members in the assembly records since they contested on its symbol, have shown signs of stress with the ruling party.
Legislator S Karunaas, leader of Mukkulathor Puli Padai, has been anti-government for some time, while Manithaneya Jananayaga Katchi MLA M Thamimun Ansari, a strident critic of the BJP, backed the DMK-led alliance in the Lok Sabha polls after AIADMK struck a poll pact with the saffron party.

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First Published: Apr 30 2019 | 9:40 PM IST

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